Reasoned Rants #1: A view on smoking

(Dear Readers, This is part one of a new series I have been long planning to present my well-considered and carefully-deliberated views on a number of issues and attitudes that cause me some – I will go as far as to say, quite some – concern…. I will endeavour most earnestly to avoid this venture in descending into a campaign of polemical diatribes….. but then I have some manifestly (un) worthy matters to counter and somehow it gets hard to control reason when facing such instances of singular stu…. you see what I mean?)

One of the most deplorable habits of some people in these benighted times is their way of turning up their noses in a pseudo-supercilious manner and/or passing (irrelevant) strictures on many of the things that make life worth living. Most of these – as its is popularly known – may be illegal, immoral or fattening – but then they do well serve as a microcosm of what our lives are — well most of our lives saving those of a deluded minority.

Take usage of the alkaloid nicotine, especially in a vapour form – this is one thing that seems to get on their collective dander and turn them into a gaggle of piously censorious killjoys. Recently, someone stopped me in a discussion as I was on my way for a well-deserved puff and even took some photographs. Considering these somewhat worthy, I shared them on a social media site. Some of the comments one attracted were downright unwarranted, and would have been most laughable had they not been the most puerile, inane, rid…, naive ones it has been my sad lot to come across.

I am however a most fair man. I grant this is not a very salubrious habit. But so are a number of others — the high level of stress engendered in a rat race for a futile status and its symbols to be the most obvious — which most of these will not even acknowledge, leave alone raise their sanctimonious bl... voices against.

Take it this way. Can these detractors counter the combined weight of the habit’s most illustrious practitioners? These would include Albert Einstein, Thomas Alva Edison, Alexander Graham Bell,  J. Robert Oppenheimer, Edwin Hubble, Sigmund Freud, Howard Carter, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, King Hussein, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Clement Atlee, George Orwell, Jean-Paul Sartre, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Georges Simenon,  Mark Twain, Albert Camus,  Bertolt Brecht… and not to forget Sherlock Holmes, Captain Haddock, Bertie Wooster and Inspector Salvo Montalbano.

And it is the last of these I give the last word to – to place the whole issue in perspective with his singular brand of robust and irrefutable logic. The conversation between the good inspector and his second in command, Assistant Inspector, Dominic ‘Mimi’ Augello can be found on pg 154 of the Picador edition of Andrea Camilleri’s “The Scent of the Night”.

~~ “Thats bul*****”,

“You call smoking bul*****”

“Gimme a break with the smoking! Of course smoking is harmful, to those who smoke! But for you, smog doesn’t count, high-tension wires don’t count, depleted uranium is good for the health, smokestacks are fine, Chernobyl has boosted farm production, fish filled with uranium – or whatever the hell it is – are better for you, dioxin is a pick-me-up, and mad cow, foot-and-mouth disease, genetically modified food, and globalization make you live like a king. The only thing that harms and kills million of people is secondhand smoke. You know what the new slogan’s going to be in the coming years? Keep the air clean. Do a line of coke.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pooja Shah on October 28, 2012 at 15:11

    I adore ranting myself. you seem to be quite good at it. look forward to many more. also, rumpole (horace rumpole, the old bailey hack) absolutely agrees with you on this and there’s a lovely scene in one of the episodes where he deals superbly with a ‘piously censorious killjoy’ (Samuel Ballard). i think you’d enjoy it. cheerio!


    • Thank you. It is most comforting to know that even my prejudices find a receptive ear. Rumpole, haven’t read the old fogey for years now. You can soon look for more rants, laments and jeremiads…


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